Autism is a neurological condition that affects the way people communicate and experience the world around them. Every autistic person is different. Some autistic people will be chewers and others won’t. Likewise, some chewers will be autistic whilst others won’t.
Autistic traits vary widely from person to person. But there are certain characteristics that are common.
Autistic people struggle with social communication and interaction. They may not be comfortable in social settings such as parties as it can be difficult to interpret verbal and non verbal communication. Their interactions may also be socially inappropriate, whilst factually true!
Repetitive behaviour, routines and activities are very important to autistic people. Change in routine can be very disruptive and it may help to prepare for changes far in advance.
Hand Flapping, Rocking, Vocal Sounds and spinning are all examples of Stimming. Stimming is short for Self-Stimulatory Behaviour. This is when Autistic people do certain repetitive movements or sounds to calm down.
Stimming is very important for self regulation. “Stimming is like breathing, just as natural, just as important”
Sensory issues can have an impact on your daily life. Someone with sensory processing difficulties can become easily overloaded causing sensory overload. You can be a Sensory Seeker, a Sensory Avoider or a mix of both. Someone who chews is seeking oral sensory input. This can help them to regulate their sensory system.
Please see our video for more information on sensory processing difficulties.
Chewing is related to our sensory processing system. Lots of autistic people have sensory processing difficulties. The need to bite and chew is because we are not getting the correct messages to our oral sensory system. Chewing is a way to self regulate our sensory system, prevent a sensory overload and also recover from one. Chewing can help with so many things including staying calm and focused and relieving stress and anxiety.
So yes chewing can be a trait of autism but this will not be the case for everyone. Whilst, not every autistic person will be a chewer lots of autistic people do have the need to chew. There are lots of chewers who are not autistic. If you think you or your child may be autistic you should visit your GP to ask for a referral.
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